Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Meltdowns vs. Tantrums: What's the Difference? Plus 8 Ways to Help Your Child When They're Having a Meltdown

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Learn about the difference between a tantrum and a meltdown. Plus, you'll find 8 tips to help your child during an autism meltdown.

When it comes to parenting, handling "outbursts" of emotions can be tough.

Maybe you've dealt with your fair share of tantrums over the years. Or maybe you're raising an autistic child or a child with sensory issues who frequently has meltdowns.

Tantrums and meltdowns.

Two simple words that often get used to describe a child's behavioral and/or emotional outbursts.

But do you really know the difference between tantrums and meltdowns?

I can almost guarantee that those judgy people throwing shade at you in the grocery store while your child is currently in meltdown mode could use this lesson too. Yep, those jerks could definitely use some education on the whole tantrum vs meltdown thing. Then maybe they could offer a helping hand instead of shooting invisible lasers of judgment out of their eyeballs towards you.

My point is simple though. Tantrums and meltdowns are two different things.

And the distinction between the two is important to understand because the way you respond and react to each is entirely different.

What is a meltdown? How is it different from a tantrum?

What is the Difference Between a Tantrum and a Meltdown?

While on the surface meltdowns and tantrums may present similarly, they are not the same thing. 

Let me repeat that again one more time.

Meltdowns and tantrums are not the same thing.

Many people use the terms interchangeably - heck, I probably did once upon a time too. But when you have a child that has frequent meltdowns, you quickly learn that tantrums and meltdowns are two very different things.

Meltdowns are rarely ever about the little things, but sometimes those little things pile up on top of each other until it just becomes too much. Your child becomes overwhelmed and can no longer cope. They shut down and a meltdown can be the result of their overwhelming senses.

I recently wrote a long article for CBC Parents on this topic (so long that they had to break it up into two parts haha!). This piece will help you learn what a meltdown is, what a tantrum is, and how the two differ. Plus, I'm sharing 8 tips on how to help your child during a meltdown. So pop on over there and give it a read!

What is a meltdown? How is it different from a tantrum?